Young Learners, level 2: Basic Simple Past exercises

26th October 2022

What did they do yesterday ?

A chance to review the simple past (verb 2).

I expect all students to be able to use the past tense by the end of the seminar.

infinite / present (verb 1) / past (verb 2)

1 to be am / was [I am / I was]

are / were [they are / they were]

2 to have have / had

3 to do do / did

4 to say say / said

5 to go go / went

6 to get get / got

7 to make make / made

8 to know know /knew

9 to think think / thought

10 to take take / took

11 to see see / saw

12 to come come / came

13 to want want / wanted

14 to use use / used

15 to find find / found

Past Tense Exercise

1. You (have) a test yesterday.

You had a test yesterday.

2. They (do) their homework last night.

They ——-  their homework last night.

3. You (are) lazy last week.

You ——- lazy last week.

4. I (am) hungry yesterday.

I  ——- hungry yesterday.

5. Sam (go) to Hong Kong last year.

Sam  ——- to Hong Kong last year.

6. The man (make) tables and chairs yesterday.

The man  —— tables and chairs yesterday.

7. Two weeks ago the boy (has) a new bicycle.

Two weeks ago the boy  ——- a new bicycle.

8. In London I (know) many people.

In London I _______ many people.

9. I (get) 10 points in my English test.

I ______ 10 points in my English test.

10. I (want) to see a great film.

I _______ to see a great film.

Extra work for Top Cats

Corrections: Write in the past tense

I (am) born in Vietnam and (arrive) in Sai Gon in 2020. I (go) to school in District 1 because I (want) to work near my home. Last week, my friend (have) a party. She (dance) all night and I (hear) her singing. In the morning, she (have) a headache.

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images or free photo sites, and are used for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.

Young learners, level 6: Adjectives and grammar review

5th July 2022

First, let’s build a word bank of incredible, useful and unusual adjectives:

amazing / beautiful / Chinese / colourful / cute / dangerous / difficult / energetic / English / famous / fantastic / generous / greedy / great / hard-working / healthy / intelligent / interesting / Japanese / kind / lazy / loud / messy / naughty / nervous / outgoing / popular / quick / quiet / rich / rude / selfish / talkative / top cat / unhealthy / unusual / valuable / wealthy /

Game 1 – say are these adjectives positive (good) or negative (bad) or neutral (neither good nor bad)

Game 2 – make sentences using present continuous and two adjectives

EXAMPLE: She is reading a heavy, interesting book.

I ___ play ___________________ , ______________________ music.

You ___ watch a _______________ , ________________ film.

He ___ talk to a ____________ , _____________ film star.

She _____ study every day because she ___ __________ and ___________.

Ms H ____ smile because she is so _________ and ___________ .

The fat cat ___ not share her food because she is ______ and _________ .

We ___ learn ________ grammar but it is _____________ .

President __ wear a _________ dress. She ____ very _________ .

The boy ___ leave school because he was __________ and _____ to the teacher.

The teacher ___ laugh because the ________ , _________ student was sent home !

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images or free photo sites, and are used for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.

David Bowie by request

23rd April 2022

My Princess requested some extra help with reading and gleaning information from text. Therefore, I prepared this little exercise about a Truly unique musical icon, David Bowie.

Who Was David Bowie?

The following text is taken from this website: https://www.biography.com/musician/david-bowie

David Bowie was born David Robert Jones in Brixton, South London, England, on January 8, 1947. Bowie’s first hit was the song ‘Space Oddity’ in 1969. The original pop chameleon, Bowie became a fantastical sci-fi character for his breakout Ziggy Stardust album. He later co-wrote ‘Fame’ with Carlos Alomar and John Lennon, which became his first American No. 1 single in 1975. An accomplished actor, Bowie starred in The Man Who Fell to Earth in 1976. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Shortly after releasing his final album, ‘Black Star’, Bowie died from cancer on January 10, 2016. 

Black Star
Ziggy Stardust

Questions

1. When was David Bowie born ?

2. What was his first hit ?

3. What was the name of his breakout album (LP) ?

4. With whom did he co-write ‘Fame’ ?

5. What film did he star in ?

6. When was he inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame ?

7. When did David pass away ?

8. What was his last LP ?

Now … IELTS language

Your turn to be a chameleon. Change this run of the mill passage into a piece of text worthy of an IELTS student.

Today, David Bowie’s music is (everywhere) (but) this wasn’t always the case. When he was (beginning phrasal verb) he was not successful, and he felt (sad – use an idiom). People only heard his music on the radio (rarely – use an idiom). However, by (not giving up) he finally archived fame.

He worked incredibly hard (idiom) and played concerts across the USA. He (idiom) by acting in a big movie in 1976. Unfortunately, the Rock ‘n’ Roll lifestyle was (bad) to his health, so he decided to (idiom), stop his bad habits, and move to Berlin, Germany.

Today, Bowie memorabilia can (idiom); for example, a lock of his hair sells for over £12, 000. That is out of this world !

Bye bye from David Bowie

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images or free photo sites, and are used for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.

Animals: idioms, phrases and interesting facts A – D

3rd April 2022

Albatross:

An albatross around your neck

Meaning: A burden or something unpleasant that stays with you

“He wrote that tweet when he was angry, and everybody saw it. It’s like an albatross around his neck now.”

The phrase comes from the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem, ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’, where a sailor shoots an albatross, a symbol of good luck, and is forced to wear the dead bird around his neck.

Ants:

To have ants in your pants

Meaning: Always moving around, not sitting still

“Keep still ! Do you have ants in your pants ?”

In Greek, ants are myrmex. The soldiers who followed the hero Achilles were referred to as Myrmidons. One origin myth is that ants survived a plague, and the god Zeus turned these into people. Even today, ants have been found to be extremely resistant to nuclear radiation.

Achilles addresses his myrmidons

Bears:

Bear with me

Meaning: Please wait a very short time

“Let me check for you. Bear with me a minute.”

In some Native American cultures, the bear is a symbol of a teacher

Birds

Birds of a feather flock together

Meaning: People tend to stay with or befriend people with similar interests or habits

“The naughty students all sit together. Birds of a feather !”

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

Meaning: It is better to have something definite than something better but uncertain

“Should I buy these now or wait until next week when they may be cheaper ?” “Buy now. A bird in the hand.”

The European bird Robin Redbreast actually has an orange chest, but the word ‘orange’ didn’t exist in English until the 16th Century, by which time the bird was already known as ‘redbreast’.

Cats:

To let the cat out of the bag

Meaning: to tell a secret

“John told me. He let the cat out of the bag.”

No room to swing a cat

Meaning: Very limited space. However, the ‘cat’ here is a whip used by the navy, a cat o’ nine tails.

Cats were sacred to the Egyptian god Bast (or Bastet), so killing one was extremely unlucky. Cats helped kill rodents, who would eat the grain, and were therefore treated with the highest respect.

Chicken

Don’t be chicken

Meaning: Do not be afraid

“Come on, let’s watch this horror film. Don’t be a chicken !”

Chicken Little

Meaning: A person who is alarmist, who always predicts that bad things will happen

“Jane says we should cancel the picnic because it may rain, but she’s such a Chicken Little.”

Chickens, who originate from southeast Asia, have remarkable memories. They have been found to identify over 100 other chickens just by their faces.

Dog

The tail wagging the dog

Meaning: The person or people in control are actually being forced to do something they don’t want.

“Your students tell you what they are going to do ? That’s the tail wagging the dog.”

1997 film which takes its title from an expression

Donkey

Talking the hind legs off a donkey

Meaning: Someone who can talk and talk, extremely loquacious

“He could talk the hind legs off a donkey.”

Donkeys are mentioned over 140 times in the NIV of The Bible. They are seen as symbols of peace and servitude. An ass is a wild donkey. A donkey is the ‘star’ of Robert Bresson’s 1966 film ‘Au Hasard Balthazar’.

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images or free photo sites, and are used for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.

IELTS: Talking Pictures. Describe a favourite film

16th March 2022

Zhang Zihi in the visually stunning film ‘Hero’
Exquisite cinematography in ‘Raise The Red Lantern’ with Gong Li

A typical IELTS question

Talk about a film you like. Why do you like it, and what is the story ?

The film I would choose is ‘Lost In Translation‘ starring Scarlett Johannsson

STRUCTURE:

Short introduction – do not answer the question immediately

Organised structure – one point per paragraph

A change of attitude – a critical view

Short conclusion

LOOK OUR FOR

Low-frequency words

Complex sentences – combining two or more bits of information in the same sentence.

Discourse markers – words to link ideas together

Adverbs and less common adjectives

So, without further ado, the question:

Talk about a film you like. Why do you like it, and what is the story ?

INTRODUCTION – talk about cinema or films in general DON’T immediately talk about your favourite film.

Watching films and going to the cinema is one of my passions, so choosing just one film is going to be terribly difficult, not to say impossible. However, if I have to select one film, it would be ‘Lost in Translation’, with Scarlett Johannsson.

First paragraph. Information about the film and the main characters.

The film, directed by Sophia Coppola, daughter of Francis Ford Coppola, was made in 2003, and takes place in Tokyo. A young newly-married girl, named Charlotte, is alone in her hotel because her husband is constantly out working. Staying at the same hotel is a middle-aged, world-weary American actor, Bob Harris, in Japan to make a commercial for Japanese whiskey.

Second paragraph. The plot: what happens and why.

Both characters appear to be suffering from culture shock and seem afraid to leave the security of the hotel. For example, despite seeming to be impressed by all the neon and energy of the city, Bob spends his night in the hotel bar with other tourists, while Charlotte reads and listens to music in her room.

Third paragraph. Develop the plot.

They meet in the hotel where, age difference notwithstanding, they seem to get on extremely well, extremely quickly. Furthermore, they give each other energy and courage to venture outside. We learn that Bob is less than happy in his current life, while it becomes apparent that Charlotte is doubting her own marriage. At one point it look like they will get together, hook up. However, Bob decides to go back to the USA leaving Charlotte, but not before they share an embrace on the street in which Bob whispers something in her ear. We, that is the audience, do not get to hear what he said; we have to speculate.

Fourth paragraph: Something negative for balance.

Some people could be irritated that the final words are a mystery, other could be somewhat disappointed by this love story that never happens. This negativity is like a black cloud on an otherwise bright, sunny day. The film is quite melancholic as we are left to wonder what might have been.

Conclusion: A short summary.

‘Lost in Translation’ is described as a romantic-comedy-drama. The characters are totally believable and likeable, while, technically, the cinematography is stunning. Furthermore, in my view, it is a charming, heart-warming, and life-affirming albeit bitter-sweet movie.

An iconic shot from the opening of the film

NOW … YOUR TURN

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION !

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images or free photo sites, and are used for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.

Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: Introducing yourself, and small talk

29th January 2022

8 tips on how to make new friends as an adult

Introducing yourself

If you meet a new friend or business acquaintance, you may say

Hello, how are you ?

Very well, thank you, and yourself ? / I’m great, thanks for asking

How do you do ?

This question is formal, and the correct response is

How do you do ?

How’s it going ? How’s it hanging ? (these are both very informal)

All good, going well. / Yeah, I’m fantastic !

Asking about people’s jobs

business meeting group stock photos - OFFSET

What do you do ? I’m a designer at ABC company (then explain more about your work).

What line are you in ? Engineering.

What’s your profession ? I’m a nurse.

Asking about their family life

Remember, English-speakers can be quite private so don’t ask why a person isn’t married, or why a married person doesn’t have children

Are you a family man ?

Premium Photo | Indian friends eating or dining in restaurant. asian people  in face for get-together, reunion or celebrating party. coffee shop  celebration friendship togetherness concept

Yes, I have a wife and two kids

You married ?

No, my job leaves me no time for romance !

Do you have kids ?

Ha, I’m married to my job

Asking about free time

Here's how to actually enjoy your free time, instead of mindless scrolling  | Announce | University of Nebraska-Lincoln

How do you relax ?

I enjoy sports and meeting up with friends

How do you unwind ?

I just crash on the sofa and watch movies

What do you do in your spare time ?

I love to travel and drink beer.

Me and my boyfriend found a restaurant in Germany (Hamburg) serving 1 litre  tankards of home brewed beer. It was fantastic 👌 : r/Untappd

Listening and vocabulary

Here is a very good video for extra practice

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images or free photo sites, and are used for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.

IELTS: Mini-lesson review

11th January 2022

Tricot | Wiki | Asian Music Amino

The photo shows Tricot who are a Japanese rock band. The band, who sing in Japanese, are very talented. I would love to see them. Furthermore, I really wish to visit Japan although hotels in Tokyo cost an arm and a leg.

Let’s review the idioms and vocabulary covered in our first lessons. Let’s kick off with:

Basic idioms:

it’s raining cats and dogs

it costs an arm and a leg

piece of cake

I’m burning the candle at both ends

once in a blue moon

pass with flying colours

turn over a new leaf

put your nose to the grindstone

IELTS - Tôi tự học!: [IDIOMS] : " It's raining cats and dogs"

Let’s put it to the test – what idioms would you use ?

It’s no problem at all, it’s a __________

She needs to get a high score, I want her to ______

I must be more serious about learning piano. I have to _______

The iPhone X is very expensive, it _______

You need to stop going out every night and missing school. You need to _____________

She dances all day, then sings all night; she’s _________________

Bring an umbrella if you go to the UK, it’s always ____________

Ms Anna simply adores Chanel perfume however, because it _____________ , she only wears it __________________________________.

Relative Pronouns

Happy African Girl Studying In... - Stock Photos | Motion Array

This lady, who wants to work in London, is studying hard for her IELTS.

who for people:

This is the man who helped me to learn German. 

which for things:

We tried fish and chips which is delicious.

where for places:

Let’s go to the shop where we saw the great bargains.

Whose possessive:

That’s Tricot, the band whose record we heard last night.

TRICOT discography and reviews

Endgame

Can you remember, what word means ‘everywhere’ ?

Can you give me an example ?

Instead of saying, “I think,” you could say … ?

Again, please give me an example.

The Talmud: Why has a Jewish law book become so popular? - BBC News

Middle Age Arabic Couple, Woman And Man Serious Face Thinking About  Question, Very Confused Idea Stock Photo, Picture And Royalty Free Image.  Image 104957805.

Answers

Ubiquitous:

In Sai Gon, which is the largest city in Viet Nam, coffee shops are ubiquitous.

Motorbikes are ubiquitous in Viet Nam.

Fast food shops are ubiquitous in the USA.

In my opinion

In my opinion, learning English is incredibly important.

Sai Gon, in my opinion, is the best city in Viet Nam.

In my opinion Tricot are absolutely amazing.

10 Useful Ways to Say Goodbye in Japanese | FluentU Japanese
Goodbye, see you next class

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images or free photo sites, and are used for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.

2022 – The Year of the Grammar. Back to Basics

5th January 2021

Basic grammar is a continual problem with my online classes, that and the stubborn reluctance [contumacy for those who like to learn new words] to write down new words, or to learn from their mistakes.

Basic grammar is basically lacking.

Many older student will, I am sure, have traumatic memories of conjugating verbs endlessly, without ever applying them in real-life situations. Hence, I propose a synthesis; drilling of verb ending, and then applying them in simple sentences.

Enough preamble, let’s go to work !

Let's go to work.

The verb ‘to be’

Only teach constructions in upper level classes

I am // I’m

you are // you’re

he is // he’s

she is // she’s

it is // it’s

Mr John is // Mr John’s

we are // we’re

they are // they’re

Have students repeat until their grammar is perfect. Make games, see who can conjugate the verbs clearest and quickest.

Now … practice:

First let’s use an adjective:

happy / sad / lucky / hard-working / lazy

Let’s start with the adjective ‘happy’

I am happy // I’m happy

you are happy // you’re _______

he _____ \

she ______ \

it _______\

Mr John ______ \

we ____ \

they ______

Secondly, let’s use a continuous verb (verb + ing)

reading / playing / swimming / watching TV / eating

I am reading

you ___ _______

he __ _________

she __ _______

It __ _______

Mr John __ _____

we __ ______

they __ ________

The verb ‘to have’

I have

you have

he has

she has

it has

Ms Jane has

we have

they have

Now … practice:

Let’s use some common nouns

Watch Twin Sisters Online | Vimeo On Demand on Vimeo

sister (or twin sister) / piano / dog / iPad / new book

I have a ____

you ____ ______

he ___ _________

she ___ _______

Ms Jane ____ _______

we ____ ______

they ____ _______

OK, Snoopy, enough is enough … but we have just started. More blogs to follow.

Happy 2022, the Year of the Grammar

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images or free photo sites, and are used for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.

I Me Mine: Pronoun Declensions

3rd December 2021

Any excuse for a Beatles-related photo.

The English language, despite having a multitude of idioms, slang, vernacular, dialects, neologisms etc, can be easier to learn than other languages when it comes to the definite article. I am referring to the word ‘the’.

English nouns have no gender; the language doesn’t have the complex German structure of declension when the word ‘the’ changes depending if the noun is the subject, object or indirect object.

However, it’s not all plain sailing. English speakers employ declension when it comes to pronouns. Please allow me to illustrate:

A cuckoo clock, invented in Germany (not Switzerland, as is often believed).

I bought this clock from a friend so it now belongs to me. It is my clock, it is mine.

However, with the wrong declension:

Me bought this clock from a friend so it now belongs to mine. It is I clock, it is my.

Last night, a level 6 class (aged around 10) were having a lesson on conservation. The examples were all in the second person (your), and the students were having problems changing the pronoun. Hence, this blog:

School Kids Stock Photos & Royalty-Free Images from PhotoDune
Let’s go to work

Let’s keep it simple. There are three cases:

the subject, the object and the possessive

I, Me, Mine

In our example I bought this clock from my friend, the first noun is ‘I’ (subject)

so it now belongs to me. (object)

It is my clock, it is mine. (possessive)

Now … let’s practice

I // me // my or mine

you // you // your or yours

he // him // his

she // her // her or hers

we // us // our or ours

they // them // their or theirs

EXAMPLE: What can you do to stay healthy ?

black-lady-weights - Carla Fields Fitness

I can exercise. Being healthy is important to me. These are my weights. They are mine.

How about changing the pronoun ? Tell me about this man:

Charlie Chaplin Archives - Redsvn.net

He is very funny. Many people like him. It is his dog. The dog is his.

Tell me about this lady

Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai disappeared after denouncing rape - Tennis  - Sports - Nenroll-Nenroll

— is very happy. I can not beat — in a game. — racket (bat) is very expensive. It is —-.

Let’s use ‘you’

Ayushmann Khurrana wanted to shave his head for Bala, says 'I resembled my  grandfather after prosthetics' | Bollywood - Hindustan Times

— can wash your hair. I will buy some cologne for — . It is —- cologne, it is —– .

Tell me about these people

—- are American. If you go to the USA, maybe you will meet —-. This is —– flag, it is ——.

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images or free photo sites, and are used for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.

IELTS: Focus on India

18th October 2021

Image result for hello India

Firstly, a big hello to all my readers and followers in India. I want you all to know how much I appreciate you taking the time to check out my blog. Thank you so much.

Exercise one: Find out some basic information about India from the internet, such as capital and major cities, population, food, religion, imports and exports.

I give you four minutes to do an Internet search, then present to class. DO NOT simply read from Wikipedia.

Exercise two:

Adjectives: look at the photos and describe what you see.

Try these adjectives:

exotic / mysterious / exquisite / captivating / enchanting

How Narendra Modi inaugurated Abu Dhabi's first Hindu temple | Condé Nast  Traveller India
Image result for Indian culture
Image result for Indian culture

Exercise two: compare and contrast

Does this look like YOUR city ? What is similar, what is noticeably different ?

Image result for Indian city scene
Image result for Indian train station
School, Colleges to Reopen From Next Month? What we Know so Far

Vocabulary building and listening

In the real world, most students will not be communicating with English-language teachers, but probably with other non-native speakers, so learning to appreciate and understand English spoken with a ‘new’ accent is an extremely useful skill. Here’s a great video which features a charming young Indian lady teaching new vocabulary: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKUxuD0m5A8

New Vocabulary:

Instead of using ‘very’ + adjective (I am very tired), use a single word:

Try to use ‘sagacious’, ‘exquisite’, ‘colossal’ and ‘spacious

The classrooms in Block D are ……….. (big)

The furnishings are perfect, they are ……….

Building an underground train network is a ………… undertaking

The old man was ………. People came to him for advise.

This is also a listening skills exercise. 

  • Do you have any problems understanding her ? Why ?

What to do in India

The American foodie and blogger Mark Wiens travelled to Kolkata: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvNdOJMDMyQ

Listen for at least five words you didn’t previously know. In small groups ask each other:

What impressed you ? What disturbed you ? Would you like to go there ? If so, why, if not, why not ?

Here is a chance to practice adjectives, linking words and using the word ‘because’ – giving reasons, supporting your comments.

Famous Indians

In small groups, you have to make a short presentation about one of these famous Indians:

Mahatma Gandhi
Image result for famous indian siddharta buddha
Siddhartha – the Buddha
kalpana chawla
Kalpana Chawla

The class have five to ten minutes to research information, speed read and extract relevant facts with which to enlighten the class. Follow up, tell me about some Indian artists or sports stars.

And now, goodbye from this mysterious, exotic land. Hope to meet you very soon …

Image result for Indian sunset

This is an edited blog that first appeared on 24th January 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/01/24/ielts-hello-india/

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images or free photo sites, and are used for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.